3 Tips To Get Your Business Strategy Started

So you have just started your new job and you are both excited and terrified at the same time. You have been longing for the chance to stamp your mark on something to create something new and now you have your chance.

You have a date in the diary when you are going to present your new three year plan to the Board for discussion and you want to make a good first impression because you want them to feel that they did the right thing and hired you rather than the other candidate but your stuck.

You have never put a three year strategy together and everyone around you seems to know so much more about the organisation than you do currently.

You haven’t the resources both financial or in terms of staff to invest enormous amounts of time and money in developing one. You have googled how to write a three year strategy and now feel overwhelmed and are staring at a blank screen with time ticking by. Where should you start?

strategy

photo by Sean MacEntee

Over the years I have developed and written numerous strategies. Some were long and others short (my preference now!). One of the key things I learned was the process of developing the strategy was just as important as the final document.

Whilst you might be able to write the strategy on your own, it will never have the buy-in if you have not involved a range of stakeholders in its creation. With this in mind, an initial workshop with your team can be a great place to start and a great way for you to begin to build your rapport with them.

And so my three tips for kick-starting the business planning process with your team are:

1) Begin with the end in mind

Oddly enough one of the best places to start your thinking is with the end in mind. Don’t worry about how you are going to achieve it at this stage but do get clear about the impact you want to have at the end of three years.

strategy

photo by Olivander

Begin by asking yourself and your team the following questions: Why should anyone care about our business? Why does this business exist? What’s the purpose of the next three year strategy? If we did not have another three year strategy what would be at stake? To understand why it’s important to address these questions, take a look at Simon Sinek’s TED talk on How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Some organisations are crystal clear why they exist but don’t assume that yours is. However, if it is you can focus solely on the impact the organisation needs to make in the next three years.

2) Critique the current vision, mission and objectives
Next review the existing strategy together to gather the teams business intelligence. What’s worked and what hasn’t? What’s left to do and relevant and what’s redundant. What’s do you feel is missing when you read the strategy today? Are the vision, mission and corporate and strategic objectives still relevant?

Don’t panic if the existing strategy doesn’t have all of these or that they are obsolete. Its quiet normal. The great thing is you get to point that out and come up with your thoughts on the new way forward.

3) Rough and ready analysis
Lastly, develop a SWOT, PEST and 5 Forces analysis (Google to find out about them if you are unfamiliar). One of the easiest ways to do this is in a group as each person’s thought triggers another. When you have completed these you have the first section in your strategy. The vision of the organisation and what it will achieve in the next three years, a critique of the current strategy and why you believe in a new way forward and some helpful analysis of the organisation at this particular moment in time.

What are your top tips for starting to develop a strategy? Do share your experience with us by leaving a comment.

If you are needing to develop your business or communications strategy and are not sure where to start email me to discuss my Strategy Development Workshop for you and your team. And don’t forget to sign up to receive my blog.